Agricultural Resource Specialist
The Agricultural Resource Specialist assists farmers in the implementation of Accepted Agricultural Practices (AAPs) and other natural resource programs.
The Agricultural Resource Specialist in our area is Sylvia Harris.
Her services include technical assistance to farmers on AAP compliance, environmental assessments of farm practices and water testing of farm wells through the Farm*A*Syst Program, and assistance with AAP manure spreading exemption requests. Sylvia also helps with the development of educational and training materials for farmers, Districts and the public; assists Districts in the development and implementation of water quality workshops and programs; and assists with watershed planning, monitoring and organization. In addition, she provides assistance to farmers on Best Management Practices applications and Large Farm Operation applications.
Below are some of the specific efforts within the ARS program.
Farm*A*Syst is a free drinking water protection program for farms. It includes voluntary assessments to determine how current practices and structures may pose a risk to drinking water. Free water testing for farm wells provides information on bacteria, nitrates and common pesticide levels. If a water quality problem is found, ARS staff will assist the landowner in trying to determine the cause of the contamination and work with the landowner to find the best solution.
AAP (Accepted Agricultural Practices) Assistance Program offers farmers free technical assistance and information to help meet the requirements of AAP regulations.
Technical assistance for manure and nutrient management, runoff potential, floodway determinations, stream bank stabilization, vegetative buffer strips and minimizing soil erosion are all addressed by the AAP Assistance program.
Mortality Composting Project: With special legislative funding, the ARS program has developed a video and powerpoint presentation on composting animal mortalities. The purpose of these efforts was to educate farmers about the issues around the disposal of mortalities, such as groundwater contamination. These educational tools provide information about how to set up a small on-farm composting operation and where to find additional help. (link to powerpoint to come)
The Vermont Natural Resources Conservation Districts and the Vermont Department of Agriculture, Food & Markets have partnered to administer the Agricultural Resources Specialist program. ARS's are funded through the US EPA nonpoint source program (Clean Water Act) and Vermont's Clean and Clear Action Plan. For more information on agriculture and the Clean and Clear Action Plan visit: http://www.anr.state.vt.us/cleanandclear/index.htm
Poultney - Mettowee